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Sindhu becomes first Indian to win World Championships

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Ace shuttler P. V. Sindhu became the first Indian to win the BWF World Championships, crushing Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in just 36 minutes in a one-sided final at Basel in Switzerland on Sunday.
India's P V Sindhu celebrates during the women's singles final match against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the BWF Badminton World Championships 2019 in Basel, Switzerland, on August 25, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Jundong/IANS)
India's P V Sindhu celebrates during the women's singles final match against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the BWF Badminton World Championships 2019 in Basel, Switzerland, on August 25, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Jundong/IANS)
Ace shuttler P. V. Sindhu became the first Indian to win the BWF World Championships, crushing Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in just 36 minutes in a one-sided final here on Sunday.
 
Sindhu's gold is the second medal that India won at the Worlds this year with Sai Praneeth winning a bronze in the men's singles category. 
 
The last time Sindhu and Okuhara met in a World Championships final was in 2017. In a pulsating encounter that lasted nearly two hours and involved a 73-shot rally, Okuhara emerged victorious in the end. Sindhu again reached the final in 2018, only to go down to Carolina Marín of Spain. However, she finally broke the jinx this time, brushing aside her opponent with a dominant show from start to finish. 
 
In stark contrast to Sindhu, the Japanese world No. 4 on Sunday looked completely at sea against the Indian star's relentless attacks. 
 
Although Okuhara won the first point of the first game, Sindhu won eight straight points after that to race to an 8-1 lead. Okuhara managed just one more point before the interval with Sindhu leading 11-2. 
 
The mauling continued for much of the second period of the opener, which ended in just 16 minutes. Okuhara got a few consecutive points towards the end to extend her score to 7 but Sindhu sealed the issue on her first game point. 
 
In the second game, Okuhara briefly kept pace until the score was 3-2 in Sindhu's favour after which the Indian took six consecutive points to race to a 9-2 lead.
 
Okuhara won two more points but Sindhu kept her foot on the pedal and went into the interval with an 11-4 lead. 
 
Okuhara went on to take just three more points in the second period as Sindhu continued to storm her way to the title. Once again, she managed to get over the line on her first match point.
 
This was the 16th match between Sindhu and Okuhara. Sindhu now leads 9-7 head-to-head, including three victories in the last five meetings before Sunday's clash. 
 
Both players had not won a title this year. While Okuhara reached the final after a hard-fought 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 win against Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon, Sindhu swatted aside China's Chen Yu Fei 21-7, 21-14 in her semi-final clash. 
 
This is Sindhu's fifth medal at the World Championships, which is the joint highest in women's singles in the history of the tournament along with Xhang Ning of China, a two-time Olympic gold medallist. Apart from the two silvers Sindhu won in the last two editions, she had also won the bronze in 2013 and 2014. 
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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P V Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in final, ends up with silver

World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu
World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games here today.
 
It was Marin almost all the way in the match, barring the later stages of the first game, when Sindhu came from behind at 12-16 to first come up on level and then reel off five points in a row to win at 21-16.
 
But, overall, the 21-year-old was up against a much better player today as the Spaniard played aggressively almost throughout and controlled the proceedings.
 
This was the first time that an Indian had made it to the badminton singles final and the silver that Sindhu won today is an improvement on the bronze won by her teammate Saina Nehwal at the London Olympics in 2012.
 
Sindhu, appearing in her first Olympics, managed to stay level with Marin in the opening minutes but was soon behind at 2-5, 5-9 and then 6-12 as the Spaniard attacked well, both from the baseline and the net, and kept her rival moving all over court.
 
The Indian, however, fought back to narrow the gap at 16-17 but Marin then moved ahead to 19-16 with a powerful shot to Sindhu's backhand. A series of unforced errors by Marin helped Sindhu pull up at 19-19 and the Indian quickly picked up two more points to win at 21-19 before the Spaniard quite realised what had happened. Sindhu had scored five points in a row at that stage, reminding spectators of the manner in which she had reeled off 11 points in a row in the second game of yesterday's semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, which she had won 21-19, 21-10.
 
Marin, an amazingly fast mover on the court, appeared more determined in the second game as she quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, which she widened to 10-2 and then 11-4 before Sindhu could settle down.
 
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Sindhu fought back briefly, defending wll and come up some good shots at the net, to make it 7-14 but Marin, with superb angled shots, beautiful wrist work and deft placements, ensured that she stayed ahead, moving to 18-10 and then sealing the game at 21-12.
 
Marin began the decider on an aggressive note, grabbing a 7-4 lead. Again, Sindhu clawed her way back into the game by equalising at 10-10. The two players crossed over with Marin having a slender 11-10 advantage.
 
Sindhu kept up the fight but could not quite catch up and was behind at 14-16 from where Marin managed six points in a row to end up with six match points and prevailed finally at 21-15 to win the gold -- the first European woman to achieve the distinction in badminton at the Olympics. Sindhu is the first Indian woman to win a silver at the Olympics.
 
Sindhu has, in the process, become the fourth Indian to win an Olympic siver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004, followed by shooter Vijay Kumkar and wrestler Sushil Kumar, both in 2008.
 
The silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medals tally table.
 
“I played well. I wanted to win, but I could not," Sindhu said after the match. “I am proud of what I have achieved.  Silver is no  mean achievement in  the Olympics."
 
“It was a tough encounter  and I gave my best," Sindhu said. “Marin is a very good player she played well. I tried to stop her in the third, but could not but I am not complaining.
 
“Every player wants to win and, in my heart of hearts, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gld but that  turned out to be elusive.
 
“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in the Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got," she added.
 
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ICC World T20: New Zealand stun India by 47 runs

New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Nagpur on Tuesday night.
 
New Zealand stun India, win by 47 runs
 
New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here tonight.
 
The hosts appeared to have done well when they restricted New Zealand to 126 for seven in their 20 overs after the Kiwis' skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.
 
But they then managed to bowl out the Indians for just 79 in 18.1 overs to maintain their all-win record against India in T20 internationals, winning all the five matches they have met in so far. The shabby batting performance by the Indians was clearly no match for the might of the New Zealand bowling today.
 
Chasing what appeared to be an easy target, both the Indian openers departed under 10 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (1) was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by Nathan McCullum.
 
Rohit Sharma followed him in the third over after making just five runs. He tried to take on Mitchell Santer, only to be removed by a stumping by Luke Ronchi. Suresh Raina (1) followed him into the pavilion in the same over. The south paw tried to flick the ball past mid-wicket only to play it too high and was caught by a waiting Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket.
 
Circumstances turned worse when Yuvraj Singh (4) followed within the power play, giving a return catch to Mccullum. Kohli who tried to build the innings with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni departed at the start of the ninth over.
 
By this time India were 39/5 and had bleak hopes of regaining control of the match.
 
Soon the rest of the tail tumbled for a feeble 79/10 in 18.1 overs. Except Dhoni (30), Kohli (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10), none of the other batsmen could cross into double digits.
 
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The New Zealnd bowlers had a great day in the field with the ball. Slow-left-arm bowler Santer topped the bowling chart with figures of four for 11 with an economy of 2.75. This was backed up by Ish Sodhi who clamed three wickets for 18 in his four overs. Santer was chosen Player of the Match.
 
Earlier, things did not appear to be going to well for the Kiwis as they made first use of the pitch.
 
Opener Guptill smashed the first ball of the match from Ashwin for a straight six. But the off-spinner got even two balls later, trapping the batsman leg before wicket.
 
Colin Munro, who replaced him, departed after making just seven an over later, top-edging Ashish Nehra's ball to wide mid-on.
 
From then on, the Indian bowling attack struck home in terms of both picking up wickets at regular intervals and also restricting the Kiwis' run tally. 
 
Both Raina and Ravindra Jadeja completed their four overs with figures of one for 15 as the Indians came up with a good all-round perfomrnance in the field.
 
Dhoni took a catch off Jadeja and did a stumping as well and two brilliant runouts by Raina and Dhawan added to New Zealand's woes.
 
Corey Anderson stood out in the batting order, scoring 34 runs, and Luke Ronchi  scored 21 off 11 balls to take the side's total to 126 for seven at the end of 20 overs.
 
Scoreboard:
New Zealand innings (20 overs maximum)
MJ Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6
KS Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8
C Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7
CJ Anderson b Bumrah 34
LRPL Taylor run out (Raina) 10
MJ Santner c †Dhoni b Jadeja 18
GD Elliott run out (Dhawan/Nehra) 9
L Ronchi not out 21
NL McCullum not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 6) 13
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 126 (6.30 runs per over)
Did not bat: AF Milne, IS Sodhi
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill, 0.2 ov), 2-13 (Munro, 1.3 ov), 3-35 (Williamson, 6.5 ov), 4-61 (Taylor, 11.3 ov), 5-89 (Anderson, 15.4 ov), 6-98 (Santner, 16.4 ov), 7-114 (Elliott, 19.3 ov)
Bowling
R Ashwin 4 0 32 1
A Nehra 3 1 20 1
JJ Bumrah 4 0 15 1
SK Raina 4 0 16 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 26 1
HH Pandya 1 0 10 0
 
India innings (target: 127 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5
S Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1
V Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23
SK Raina c Guptill b Santner 1
Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4
MS Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30
HH Pandya lbw b Santner 1
RA Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0
R Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10
A Nehra b Milne 0
JJ Bumrah not out 0
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
Total (all out; 18.1 overs) 79 (4.34 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan, 0.5 ov), 2-10 (Sharma, 2.2 ov), 3-12 (Raina, 2.5 ov), 4-26 (Yuvraj Singh, 4.5 ov), 5-39 (Kohli, 8.1 ov), 6-42 (Pandya, 9.4 ov), 7-43 (Jadeja, 10.2 ov), 8-73 (Ashwin, 16.3 ov), 9-79 (Dhoni, 17.4 ov), 10-79 (Nehra, 18.1 ov)
Bowling
NL McCullum 3 0 15 2
CJ Anderson 3 0 18 0
MJ Santner 4 0 11 4
GD Elliott 2 0 9 0
AF Milne 2.1 0 8 1
IS Sodhi 4 0 18 3
 
Toss - New Zealand, who chose to bat
Points - New Zealand 2, India 0
Player of the match - MJ Santner (New Zealand)
 
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SC appoints Gavaskar to oversee IPL as interim BCCI chief, Yadav to handle other functions

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the BCCI to oversee the IPL in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
 
BCCI counsel welcomes SC verdict
The Supreme Court today appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to oversee the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
 
The apex court also said that all other functions of the BCCI president would be handled by another former cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, who is the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI. He represents the South Zone, the zone represented by Mr Srinivasan.
 
The court also allowed the two teams, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), to participate in the seventh season of IPL beginning April 16. Both teams are being investigated for alleged involvement in the betting and spot-fixing scandal.
 
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice A K Patnaik and Mr Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla posted the matters before them, arising out of two petitions, for further hearing to April 16 and noted that it would take some more days after that for the hearing to be completed and for judgement to be delivered.
 
They noted that Mr Srinivasan had made a written offer through his counsel that, till investigation into which the allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the post.
 
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar in one of the petitions, had submitted that no further investigation into the allegations against Mr. Srinivasan is necessary as the findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, appointed by the court, and the materials relied on by the said committee for the findings were sufficient for the court to remove Mr. Srinivasan from the post of BCCI president as prayed in the petition before the Bombay High Court.
 
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"As we are yet to hear all the parties in these matters, we cannot at this stage form any opinion and pass orders on the basis of such opinion for removal of Mr. Srinivasan from the post of the President of the BCCI. 
 
"The IPL 2014 is, however, scheduled to commence on 16th April, 2014 and we have to pass interim orders to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules," the judges said.
 
"Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise
the powers of the President of the BCCI in relation to the IPL, 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters. We make it clear that
with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most Vice-President of the BCCI, Mr. Shiv Lal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the President of the
BCCI. 
 
"We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cement Limited or its associate companies (except cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the Interim President, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," the order said.
 
The court said that it was upto Mr Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr Sundar Raman, also an employee of India Cement, Should continue as Chief Operating Officer of IPL or not.
 
"In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this Court for appropriate orders," the judges said.
 
They also said that Mr Gavaskar would not work as a commentator during this period as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to IPL matters, and that he would be adequately compensated for the loss of income by the BCCI.
 
The compensation amount would be determined after the court resumes hearing in the matter on April 16.
 
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"We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014," the court added.
 
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday said that Mr Srinivasan should step aside till the IPL probe is over and given it time until yesterday to come up with a proposal in this regard.
 
The BCCI yesterday told the court that Mr Srinivasan was willing to do so and that it was keen that the probe be completed expeditiously so that the whole episode could be put behind and it could move forward.
 
The Supreme Court proposed yesterday that Mr Srinivasan should step down and an eminent cricketer such as Mr Gavaskar be appointed in his place till it gave its final verdict in the IPL case.
 
It had also proposed that CSK and RR should not be part of IPL 7 and that no peson associated with India Cements, the company headed by Mr Srinivasan, should be allowed to function in any capacity in the BCCI.
 
The court had given the BCCI time until today to consider the proposals before it gave its interim order in the matter.
 
In the orders issued today, CSK and RR were allowed to participate in the tournament. 
 
The decision to ask Mr Yadav to handle the duties of the president of BCCI, other than those related to IPL, is in keeping with its rules which require that its head should be a member of the body.
 
Mr Srinivasan is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements, which owns CSK, one of the eight teams in the tournament.
 
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was a member of the CSK team management, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in May 2013 as part of their probe into alleged spot-fixing and betting in the sixth season of IPL.
 
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of CSK, is a senior employee of India Cements, as are some others associated with IPL and BCCI.
 
Mr Srinivasan had last year stepped aside as the BCCI chief to facilitate the investigations into the allegations, but was, on September 29, 2013 re-elected to the position.
 
The Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee's report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court on February 10 this year, is understood to have said that the allegations against Mr Meiyappan needed to be probed further.
 
The court had appointed the committee on October 8 last year to investigate the alleged scam.
 
Some players of Rajasthan Royals, including Indian bowler S Sreesanth, had been arrested for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scam.
 
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India bags 4 more golds, slides to 3rd place in medals table

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India bagged up four more gold medals - 3 in boxing and 1 in table tennis - as it raised its tally to 36 golds but dropped to third place in the medals table in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Wednesday.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.

Indian boxers Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar and Suranjoy Mayengbam and men's table tennis pair of Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha picked up gold medals as the hosts raised their tally to 36 gold medals on the penultimate day of the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts, however, found themselves pushed to third place in the medals table, with 36 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronzes.

England pushed past them to the second slot with 37 golds, 56 silvers and 45 bronzes while Australia was unassailable at the top with 72 golds, 50 silvers and 47 bronzes.

The day also brought some shame for the home contingent with athlete Rani Yadav, who had competed in the women's 20 km walk, testing positive for a banned substance during an anti-doping test. She has been suspended from the Games, pending the result of a B sample test in the next 48 hours.

Samota capped India's best-ever showing in boxing at the Commonwealth Games as he outpointed Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the men's heavy weight (91 kg) event in the final bout of competition this evening.

The Indian, who had bagged the bronze at the Asian Championships in Zhuhai, China last year, dominated the bout from the word go. He was leading 3-0 in the first round and increased it to 5-0 by the ed of the second, finishing with a 5-1 decision.

Before him, Manoj Kumar upset the more experienced Bradley Saunders of England in the light welterweight (64 kg) category 11-2. Saunders is a European Championships gold medallist.

Kumar, 24, worked up a 4-1 lead after the first round and widened it further to 8-1 going into the last round.

Earlier, Suranjoy won his flyweight (52kg) bout by walkover when Benson Njangiru of Kenya pulled out with a wrist injury.

India ended the competition with three gold and four bronze medals. Northern Ireland won three gold and England two, while Scotland and Sri Lanka took one each. This was India's best showing in boxing in the Commonwealth Games. They had won one gold each in 2002 and 2006.

Top-seeded Achanta and Saha sent the crowd at the packed Yamuna Sports Complex into raptures as they beat second-seeded Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the final of the men's doubles event in table tennis.

The Singapore dictated the pace in the early stages and wrapped up the first set 11-9. But the crowd egged the local pair on and Achanta and Saha played brilliantly to take the next two sets 12-10 and 11-4. Gao and Yang took the match into a fifth set by winning the fourth 11-5 before Achanta and Saha settled the issue by winning the next set 11-8.

This is the first time that India has won the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.

"In 2006 we went out of competition as underdogs. No one recognised us in the men's doubles competition in 2006. I was full of pride, so happy that I was finally able to do it. The government and our country has helped us a lot and the best way we can repay them is with a win today. Our aim was that our flag should fly high and we accomplished it," he said.

About his loss in the men's singles semi-finals to Yang earlier in the day, he said, "I lost the match today with close points. The competition was really tough. I wasn't able to forget my defeat today. It was really a hard phase today. I had just three hours to get rid of the thought that I was defeated today."

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India grab 6 more golds to take Games tally to 20, stay in 2nd place

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India won 6 more golds - 3 in shooting, 2 in wrestling and 1 in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Friday,

India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

India won six more golds - three in shooting, two in wrestling and one in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table on the fifth day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.


The hosts have so far managed 20 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Australia are at the top of the table with 47 golds, 24 silvers and 27 bronzes, while England remained in the third place with 19 golds, 37 silvers and 20 bronzes.


The day started on a happy note for India with the trio of Deepika Kumari, Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi Laishram coming from behind to stun England 207-206 and taking the top slot in the Women's Team Recurve event in archery.


A little later, ace shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan won the gold in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event.


Their compatriot Vijay Kumar, 25, set a new Games Final Record to win gold, notching up 787.5 points in the Singles 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men event. He had earlier broken his own Games Qualification Record with a score of 583 points.


Alka Tomar defeated Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the 59 kg Women's Freestyle wrestling event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.


She was followed by Anita, who beat Megan Buydens of Canada in the final of the 67 kg Women's Freestyle to take the gold.


"I've been through two months of hard training. After this win I'm more confident for future events like that," she said later.


India got their sixth gold medal of the day when shooter Omkar Singh won the Singles 10m Air Pistol Men with a score of 681.8. Bin Gai of Singapore took the silver with 676.2 while Daniel Repacholi of Australia got the bronze with 674.


Omkar Singh had picked up the gold in the company of Gurpreet Singh in the Men's 10m Air Pistol Pairs, notching up 1163 points for a new Games record. On Wednesday, he had won the Men's 50m Pistol Singles and taken the silver in the Men's 50m Pistol Pairs with Deepak Sharma on Tuesday.


Ashish Kumar, who won a bronze in the Men's Floor Exercise yesterday to earn for India its first ever medal in Gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, won the silver in the men's vault today.


"I am disappointed at not getting the gold medal, but at least I have the experience of competing at this level. My first vault was the highest, but on the second I lost it," he said later.


Gymnast Ashish Kumar
Gymnast Ashish Kumar

The gold went to England's Luke Fowell, who had a score of 15.762 points. Kumar scored 16.150 points on his first attempt but then got a disappointing 14.475 on his second vault for an overall tally of 15.312. Ian Galvan of Canada got the bronze with a score of 15.037.


India had never won a medal in gymnastics before yesterday at the Olympics, World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.


Gurpreet Singh, who had won two golds yesterday in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Pairs and 10m Air Pistol Pairs, won the bronze in the event. Malaysia's Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan took the silver with a score of 760.3.


Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh grabbed silver in the Men's Trap Pairs event in shooting with a score of 197. The gold went to Australian pair Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, who notched up 198 for a new Games record.


In tennis, India were assured of a gold or silver in both the men's and women's singles with top seed Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza winning their semi-final matches today.


Devvarman beat Australia's Matt Ebden 6-3, 6-1 and will meet Greg Jones, also of Austrlia, in the final on Sunday.


Mirza dropped a set but then staged a strong comeback in front of a partisan home crowd on Central Court to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Olivia Rogowska of Australia. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between two Australians, Anastasia Rodionova and Sally Peers.


"That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn't sunk in," Mirza said after the match.


"I'm happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn't play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there," she said.


There was disappointment for the home crowds in the men's doubles with Rohan Bopanna and Devvarman going down 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski of England and Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes losing 2-6, 2-6 to Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak of Australia in the semi-finals.


India's Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai won the bronze in the Men's Team Recurve in archery today, beating England for the third position.


In wrestling, Babita Kumari of India had to settle for silver in the women's freestyle 51 kg event after losing the final to Ifeoma Christi Nwoye of Nigeria in the final.


The Indian women's hockey team drubbed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 after losing 1-2 to Australia yesterday.


In boxing, Jai Bhagwan thrashed Nasser Mafuru of Tanzania 11-2 in the lightweight (60 kg) and Dilbag Singh beat Aaron Prince of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3 in the welterweight (69 kg).


India lost to New Zealand in the women's pairs of the lawn bowls competition and found themselves pushed to fifth place and unlikely to make the play-offs.


In squash, Anwesha Reddy of India beat Zephanie Curgenven of Guernsey 11-5, 11-5 5-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the women's singles Consolation Plate Final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.


Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

For shooter Narang, it was his third gold medal of the meet so far and the second in the pairs. He had earlier won the men's 10m Air Rifle Pairs event along with Abhinav Bindra and then in the 10m Air Rifle Men's Singles event.


In the process, Narang became the fifth person to win seven gold medals in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. He is the first male athlete to win three gold medals at the current edition of the Games in Delhi.


Narang and Khan finished with a tally of 2325, a Games record, to beat James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England, who had a total of 2308 in the finals at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.


At the Yamuna Sports Complex, the England women archers had maintained a slender lead for most of the tie today but found themselves in a position where they needed to score 15 points with just two arrows left to overtake the Indians.


Amy Oliver managed only six with her last shot and Alison Williamson needed a 10 off her final arrow but hit an eight to hand the Indian team the gold.


India's compound archers had won a silver in the men's and a bronze in the women's team events yesterday.


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India grabs 5 golds to climb to 2nd spot in medals tally at Commonwealth Games

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India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Tuesday.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

India grabbed five gold medals -- with two pairs of shooters hitting the bull's eye and wrestlers snatching all three titles at stake -- to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts started the day on a bright note as Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang won the first gold of the Games for them in the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

They shot a total of 1,193 out of a maximum 1,200 points to snatch victory. Bindra scored 595 while Narang scored 598.

Shortly afterwards, Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed set a Games record of 1,156 points to win gold in the women's 25 m Pistol Pairs.

The action then shifted to the wrestling arena at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where in the men's Greco-Roman style, Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar snatched gold in their respective categories.

Ravinder beat England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in the 60 kg category after which Sanjay prevailed over Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74 kg category. Anil Kumar brought more cheers for the home team by outperforming Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the final of the 96 kg category.

India's medals haul today also included two silvers won by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh in the men's 50 m pistol pairs event and Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami in the 50 m rifle 3 position.

India's tally now stands at 5 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes. India's women lifters Sonia Chanu and Sandhya Rani Devi gave India their first two medals - a silver and a bronze in the 48 kg class yesterday, followed by a silver and bronze by their male counterparts Sukhen Dey and V Srinivasa Rao in the 56 kg class.

In shooting, Sarnotbat achieved an average of 9.733 points while Sayeed averaged 9.533 in the session. For India, it was the second successive gold in this event, having won in the Melbourne Games in 2006, too.

Australia's Linda Ryan and Lalita Yauhleuskaya bagged silver with 1,146 points while Gorgs Geikie and Julia Lydall of England took the bronze with 1,122 points.

Onkar Singh and Deepak Sharma won a silver for India in the 50 m Air Pistol Pair event.

In the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs event, James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England took the silver with 1,174 points while Hel Abdullah Baki and Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh got the bronze with 1,173 points.

With today's victory, Bindra completed a treble in the event, having won golds earlier at the Manchester Commonealth Games in 2002 and at Melbourne in 2006. It was his fourth gold medal in shooting in the Games.

For Narang, it was his fifth gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, having won gold in the last three editions.

Bindra and Narang today broke their own Games record of 1,189 set in Melbourne four years ago.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

Narang notched a sequence of 99, 100, 100, 99, 100, 100 while Bindra ended up with a series of 100, 98, 99, 100, 99, 99

In tennis, top seed Somdev Devvarman of India won 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match against Devin Mullings of the Bahamas but he looked ill at ease. "I was a little nervous. I did well to come back," he told reporters latr.

"Playing in India is a special feeling. It doesn't matter what seed you are. When you're playing something as big as this, it's a lot more special. You win for your country, then yourself," he added.

In the men's doubles, top seeded Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi of India cruised into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

In the women's doubles, Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of the Maldives.

In archery, top seed Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar of India reached the last eight in the men's recurve as did Deepika Kumari and Dola Banerjee in the women's event.

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Football: Chennaiyin FC -- the talent factory

Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC
Last season was one to forget for Chennaiyin FC. They were the defending champions, but their fortunes nosedived so quickly that even coach John Gregory appeared helpless. There was nothing he could do, and the club finished at the bottom of the 10-team Hero Indian Super League (ISL) ladder.
 
It was an unbelievable low for the club which had won the ISL title twice. Now, as the sixth season unfolds later this month, the former champions will look to return to their best form.
 
Chennaiyin's ISL journey has had its ups and downs. But it has not just been about on-field results for the two-time champions. Co-owned by Abhishek Bachchan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Vita Dani, Chennaiyin FC's trust in youth and focus on their development has been second to none since the launch of the ISL in 2014.
 
Two seasons into the ISL, Chennaiyin went all in to sign five All India Football Federation (AIFF) academy graduates and sent them for a training stint at FC Metz, sponsoring the whole trip. Three years later, the growth of the five young players has been remarkable and the investment has paid off.
 
Those five talents are Anirudh Thapa, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Baoringdao Bodo, Bedashwor Singh and Prosenjit Chakraborty. All of them are regular professionals now, and two of them -- Thapa and Lalrinzuala -- are first-team regulars at Chennaiyin FC.
 
In the last two seasons, Thapa has featured in 34 league matches, started 17 of them and has two goals and three assists to his name. Since returning from his stint abroad, Lalrinzuala has clocked 3658 minutes in ISL, with a goal and four assists from the left-back position which he has managed to make his own.
 
In September last year, Chennaiyin FC continued the process and signed three more AIFF's young talents, Rahim Ali, Abhijit Sarkar and Deepak Tangri, all still under 20 years.
 
“We are proud to have as many as 13 players across all national teams of the country. The signing of Abhijit, Rahim and Deepak is yet another mark of our commitment towards youth development,” said Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani.
 
From among the young signings, Thapa has been a revelation for both club and country. His impressive performances have led many to tout him as one of the best young talents in the country. Lalrinzuala was instrumental at left-back in Chennaiyin's title win in 2018 and could develop into one of the better full-backs in India.
 
Others have also established themselves; Prosenjit at Minerva Punjab, Bedashwor Singh at TRAU FC, Bodo at Minerva, Gokulam Kerala and Kerala Blasters. All this was possible due to the effort of Chennaiyin. Their faith in youngsters sets them apart.    
 
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Junior Hockey: India thrash New Zealand 8-2 in Sultan of Johor Cup

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Playing a fast and aggressive game, India routed New Zealand 8-2 for their second successive victory in the 9th Sultan of Johor Cup junior hockey here on Sunday.
 
Sanjay (17', 22'), Dilpreet Singh (6'), Shilanand Lakra (14'), Mandeep Mor (22'), Suman Beck (45'), Pratap Lakra (50') and Sudeep Chirmako (51') scored for India, while Dylan Thomas (28', 44') scored twice for New Zealand.
 
India started the first quarter on an aggressive note, earning a penalty corner in the second minute of the match. The Kiwi defenders blocked out the attack. However, four minutes later, Dilpreet Singh put India in the lead with a superb goal.
 
India continued to put pressure on the rival's defence and that  paid dividends when Shilanand Lakra found the back of the net in the 14th minute. 
 
India rode on the momentum and struck their third goal at the start of the second quarter as Sanjay  found the breakthrough in the 17th minute. New Zealand fought back and earned a penalty corner soon after, but could not beat the  defence.
 
The winners kept making moves and finding openings as captain Mandeep Mor slotted India's fourth goal in the 20th minute. India earned another penalty corner a couple of minutes later and it was converted by Sanjay to put India in a dominant position (5-0).
 
New Zealand managed to pull one goal back when they earned a penalty corner in the last few minutes of the second quarter. Dylan Thomas got  on the board in the 28th minute (1-5).
 
New Zealand found some momentum and made a few more inroads into the Indian half in the third quarter.  Dylan Thomas found the back of the net yet again as New Zealand reduced the gap in the scoreline. However, in the next minute, the Indians carried out a counter-attack and scored their sixth goal through Suman Beck in the 45th minute (6-2).
 
India had a great chance to score their seventh goal when they were awarded a penalty stroke, but the New Zealand goalkeeper pulled off a great save.
 
Pratap Lakra struck the seventh goal in the 50th minute. Soon after, Uttam Singh made a brilliant run and set up Sudeep Chirmako, who scored the eighth goal.
 
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Hockey: India name 22 players for coaching camp ahead of FIH Olympic Qualifiers

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Hockey India named 22 players for the National Coaching Camp ahead of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers to be held on November 1-2.
 
The players will report to Chief Coach Graham Reid for the coaching camp commencing from tomorrow  at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar where the FIH Olympic Qualifiers will be held.
 
The camp follows a successful Belgium Tour where the Indian Men's Hockey Team beat the hosts (2-0, 2-1, 5-1) and also won against Spain (6-1, 5-1),
 
PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Kothajit Singh, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Simranjeet Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gursahibjit Singh, Shamsher Singh have been called up for the camp. 
 
"I think the wins in Belgium surely contribute to the team's confidence going into the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. There were a lot of takeaways from the tour and I am confident the team is ready for the challenge against Russia," said Reid.
 
He said playing teams like Belgium and Spain would put the Indian team in good stead ahead of the crucial two-match Olympic Qualifier against Russia. "It was a good tour as the team showed good intensity and were able to score from penalty corners and field goals which is good. Playing quality teams like Belgium and Spain definitely helps ahead of a crucial tie. The next few weeks at camp will be more about keeping up our momentum and getting used to the playing conditions in Bhubaneswar," he added.
 
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Manju settles for silver, India ends with 4 medals at AIBA Women’s World Championships

India's Manju Rani in action during the 48kg final against Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia at Ulan Ude in Russia on October 13, 2019.
India's Manju Rani in action during the 48kg final against Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia at Ulan Ude in Russia on October 13, 2019.
Debutante Manju Rani failed to breach the final frontier and had to be content with a silver in the  48kg at the AIBA Women’s World Championships as India finished with four medals in Ulan-Ude, Russia on Sunday. 
 
Rani gave her all before going down 1-4 to second seed Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia in the summit clash.
 
The 19-year-old made a strong comeback in the second round after a slow start with her flurry of punches landing on the home favourite. Despite the Indian continuing to put up a brave show even in the third round, the result ultimately did not go her way.
 
The Haryana girl put up a great display of attacking boxing throughout the tournament. Showing no nerves in her maiden appearance at this elite event, she was never overawed by the bigger names of the sport. Her spirit and zeal were evident in ample amounts when the Strandja Cup silver medalist pulled off a stunning upset win over top seed Kim Hyang of North Korea in the quarter-finals.
 
Manju took that confidence into the semis and avenged her Thailand Open semi-final defeat to former World Championships bronze medalist Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand.
 
India, however, can draw a lot of positives from the best-ever overseas show that the women pugilists put up to equal last year’s haul of four medals. 
 
Mary Kom (51kg) got an unprecedented eighth medal from this prestigious tournament to add to her glittering resume that already has a staggering six gold medals and one silver. The Manipuri legend became the only boxer, male or female, to win eight medals from the Amateur World Championships.
 
Assam girls Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Jamuna Boro (54kg) also shone to add to India’s medal tally. While Borgohain repeated her feat of last year to take her second consecutive bronze medal, Boro picked a bronze in a smashing debut at the World Championships.
 
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Hockey India shortlists 22 players for Senior Women's National Coaching Camp

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Hockey India on Saturday shortlisted 22 players for the Senior Women's National Coaching Camp to be held at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar from October 14 in preparation for the crucial  FIH Olympic Qualifiers to be held at the same venue on November 1 and 2.
 
Savita, Rajini Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nikki Pradhan, Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha Goyal, Namita Toppo, Sonika, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Jyoti and Vandana Katariya have been called up for the camp which will be focused on preparing for the  Qualifiers in which  the hosts will play two matches against USA. 
 
The best of two matches will determine the team that qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics.  
 
In their recent tour of England, the Indian women's team led by Rani won their first match against Great Britain 2-1, while drew three matches (1-1; 0-0; 2-2) and lost a match (1-3) to the home team. "It was a good tour because we got to play a strong team like Great Britain and we did well against the pressure Great Britain created in each of the matches. The one-week break before the team reports for camp, I believe will give them enough time to recover mentally and physically and they will return fresh for the camp in Bhubaneswar," said  Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.  
 
The excitement among players is palpable as this will be the first time the Indian Women's Team will be playing at the Kalinga Stadium which is always thronged by passionate hockey lovers who create an electrifying atmosphere in the stadium. "There is a lot of excitement among the players to compete in Bhubaneswar which has truly become a hockey destination for world events.
 
"During the camp, it is important for the team to get used to the pitch and we are also looking at playing practice matches amongst ourselves which we have requested should be open for the public to come and watch. It will not only boost our confidence but it will also help us prepare better," Marijne added.   
 
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Hockey Junior: India beat hosts Malaysia 4-2

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India staged a fine comeback to overpower Malaysia 4-2 in their first match of the 9th Sultan of Johor Cup (Junior Hockey) here on Saturday.
 
Pratap Lakra (19', 33'), Shilanand Lakra (39') and Uttam Singh (60') scored for India, while Muhammad Hassan (8') and Muhammad Zainudin (9') notched goals for Malaysia.
 
Malaysia started the first quarter on an aggressive note. Muhammad Hassan and Muhammad Zainudin found the back of the net in the eighth and ninth minutes, respectively. Hassan put the hosts  ahead with a field goal before Zainudin converted a penalty corner.
 
India tried to make a few inroads, but the Malaysian defence stood strong. Both the teams kept getting into great positions, but the score remained 2-0.  The teams  were toe-to-toe with each other for the rest of the quarter as the teams went into the first break.
 
India got off to a great start in the second quarter and earned a penalty corner. However, the Malaysian defence blocked out the attack. A few minutes later, India pulled one back through a  penalty stroke by Pratap Lakra.
 
India continued to be the more aggressive side and kept looking for openings. Their  persistence paid dividends when they earned a penalty corner just before the half-time whistle. However, the Malaysian defence unit stood firm once again. Malaysia led at 2-1 at the end of the first half.
 
India rode on the momentum and levelled the match at the start of the third quarter. Pratap Lakra converted a penalty corner in an exquisite manner. They  continued to put pressure on the rival defence and earned the lead for the first time in the match through a superb penalty corner conversion by Shilanand Lakra in the 39th minute (3-2).
 
India remained on the attack in the fourth quarter as well, but the Malaysian defence  managed to block out everything thrown at them. The home side tried to fight back through some crucial moves, but India ensured that they stayed in the lead.
 
The winners  created goal-scoring opportunities, but couldn't find the back of the net. India had an excellent chance to score their fourth goal when they earned a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match, but the attack was saved by the Malaysian defence. However, Uttam Singh scored a brilliant field goal in the last minute of the match to help India emerge a 4-2 winner.
 
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Boxing: Manju Rani in final, Mary Kom stumbles in semis at AIBA Women’s World Championships

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Displaying fierce fighting spirit, debutante Manju Rani (48kg) stormed into the final while veteran Mary Kom, along with Lovlina Borgohain and Jamuna Boro, had to settle for bronze at the AIBA Women’s World Championships held in Ulan-Ude, Russia on Saturday.
 
The Strandja Cup silver medalist, who started off slow against former World Championships bronze medalist Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand, gained in pace and aggression as the bout progressed to eventually secure a 4-1 win.
 
This was also sweet revenge for the youngster after having tasted defeat at the hands of Raksat at the Thailand Open semi-finals this year.
 
In the process, she emulated the feats of Mary Kom herself as well as Sonia Chahal, Sonia Lather, Saweety Boora, Sarjubala Devi, Usha Nagisetty, each of whom had made it to the final in their maiden appearance at the World Championships.
 
The Haryana girl has been in terrific form throughout the tournament and her biggest achievement so far has been an upset win over the top seed Kim Hyang of North Korea in the quarter-finals. In her quest for the gold, she will face second seed Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia.
 
“I had already played her in Thailand Open semi-finals so I had the experience and knew what to expect. I managed to land a few uppercuts in the first round but she caused me trouble in the second round. I followed the strategy of the coaches in the last round and won the bout,” said an elated Manju Rani after the victory.
 
However six-time World Champion Mary Kom’s quest for a seventh gold went up in smoke when she suffered a 1-4 loss to second seed Busenaz Cakiroglu of Turkey in 51kg. She thus had to settle for the bronze to add to her glittering resume that already has six gold medals and one silver to make her the most successful boxer, male or female, in the history of the Amateur World Championships.
 
The Indian camp lodged a protest alleging that the verdict was controversial as Mary Kom was deprived of some scoring points.
 
According to AIBA’s Rule 20 - Bout Review, only a 3-2 decision is acceptable for an appeal. Hence, even though the Indian contingent sought a review of the decision, the appeal was later rejected by the AIBA technical committee.
 
Meanwhile, Lovlina Borgohain’s hopes of bettering the colour of her last year’s bronze were also dashed after the Assam pugilist went down 2-3 to China’s Yang Liu in an extremely closely-fought contest. With this loss, Borgohain now has two bronze medals from consecutive editions of the championships.
 
India did raise a yellow card for Lovlina's bout in Round 1 but the technical observer turned down the protest, citing consistency of scores with the judges. Hence, the Indian contingent's protest was not accepted.
 
The other debutante in the semis line-up, India Open gold medalist Jamuna Boro (54kg) also had to be content with the bronze following a 0-5 defeat to top seed and former Asian Games bronze medalist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei.
 
On Sunday, Manju Rani will hunt for her first gold from the World Championships when she takes on second seed Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia at 1:30pm IST.
 
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Motorsport: MMSC to conduct night races in 2020 season

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The Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) reiterated its decision to introduce night racing for saloon cars next year after successfully conducting India’s maiden night test session in August at the MMRT.
 
Speaking on the occasion of MMSC 2019 Circuit Racing Annual Awards function here last night, MMSC president Ajit Thomas said: “In addition to continuing the highly successful mainstream events, we plan to introduce interesting alternate events like night racing after successfully conducting the first-ever night test session for saloon cars at the MMRT in August.
 
“We also have plans to further upgrade our infrastructure at the track with a permanent Grand Stand and a karting track, after having invested in building two new paddocks, a permanent Drag Racing strip, the only one of its kind in India, state-of-the-art timing equipment, Pit display system, etc.”
 
The glitzy evening saw chief guest Arun Mammen, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, MRF Ltd., presenting trophies to the podium finishers of just-concluded Indian National Racing Championships for four-wheelers and two-wheelers – Individual, Team and Manufacturers. 
 
Trophies were also presented to the top three finishers in the Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup and TVS One-Make Championship.
 
Raghul Rangasamy, the winner of the MRF F1600 Championship and Dhruv Shivaji Mohite of Rayo Racing, champion in the Indian Touring Cars, will be participating in one-off races in the UK and South Africa, respectively.
 
Reiterating MRF’s commitment to motorsports, Mammen said: “As you are all aware, MRF is India’s No.1 tyre company for more than 32 years and has been one of the pioneers in the field of motorsports. MRF has not just grown as a company but has nurtured motorsports in India, whether it is racing, rallying, supercross or karting.
 
“Our efforts to give the best tyres has fructified and today the national motorcycle championship has seen the country’s first slick motorcycle tyres. This has received a positive response from the participants of the National Championship including the manufacturers who are keenly putting their efforts into making better machines to race on track. We do not intend to stop with that, we push ourselves to raise our products' performance and see that we take Indian racing to the next level.”
 
Reflecting on the 2019 season, MMSC Vice-President and former FMSCI chief Vicky Chandhok said: “At the outset, we would like to thank MRF for their continued support and commitment. MRF’s active involvement in our racing activities has helped us to take the sport to the next level as was evident this season when we witnessed an exciting season marked by close racing. We saw a quantum increase in number of participants from across India, giving our championships a truly national flavour.
 
"We had 260 participants from 18 States and Union Territories in two-wheeler championships, 90 representing 15 teams in four-wheeler championship. The season also heralded several emerging young talents in the age-group of 12-18. We also acknowledge and appreciate the participation of manufacturers TVS, Honda, Volkswagen and Yamaha.”
 
Indu Chandhok, one of the founders of the sport’s governing body in India, FMSCI, emphasised efforts to focus on road safety through motorsport thus supporting FIA’s move in this direction.  
 
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Chess: Praggnanandhaa wins title as India bag 7 medals

R Praggnanandhaa
R Praggnanandhaa
India’s R Praggnanandhaa emerged as the unconquered king in the World Youth Chess Championship, claiming the coveted gold in the Under-18 Open here on Saturday.
 
The 14-year-old Grand Master from Chennai etched out a cautious draw in the 11th and final round against Valentin Buckels (Germany) to top the charts with 9 points. He, however, will have to thank compatriot IM Arjun Kalyan for engineering a crucial draw against top seeded Shant Sargsyan (Armenia).
 
Praggnanandhaa would have been under pressure if Grand Master Shant had won; but Shant couldn’t unravel a determined Arjun, allowing Praggnanandhaa to call truce and annex the title.
 
The Championship ended on a high note for India, with six other medals, including three silver, coming their way. Only the Under-16 Girls proved elusive for India, although BM Akshaya gave a good account of herself. Akshaya lost the medal to Anousha Mahdian, after suffering an unexpected defeat to her in the final round.
 
The country’s Under-14 Girls were the toast of the day, with Divya Deshmukh and Rakshitta Ravi bringing home two medals. Top seed WIM Divya, who seemed to be out of contention midway through the event, pulled off a well thought out victory in the last round to clinch the silver.
 
Rakshitta too beat overnight leader Bat-Erdene Mungunzul on the top board to earn the bronze. Kazakhstan’s Meruert Kamalidenova, however, was the star of this category, reeling off five straight wins to clinch the gold medal.
 
FM LR Srihari (Under-14 Open) and Vantika Agrawal (Under-16 Girls) collected the country’s other two silver medals, playing out draws in their respective matches. Vantika had an outside chance of pocketing the gold, especially after top seed Polina Shuvalova (8.5) settled for a draw; Vantika (8), however, couldn’t beat Alexandra Obolentseva of Russia to finish half a point behind the eventual winner.
 
Srihari (8), who was in contention for the gold at the start of the penultimate day, endured draws in the last two rounds to slip to the second position. S Maralakshikari won the bronze, after beating the surprise package of the championship, R Abinandhan.
 
CM Aronyak Ghosh (8) claimed the other bronze for the country in the Under-16 Open after drawing with Iran’s Arash Daghli.  He will, however, look back at the WYCC as a missed opportunity, after accepting a quick draw in the penultimate round. 
 
Winners :
U18 Open: Praggnanandhaa R (IND) 9.0; Shant Sargsyan (ARM) 8.5; Artur Davtyan (ARM) 8.0
 
U18 Girls: Polina Shuvalova (RUS) 8.5; Vantika Agrawal (IND) 8.0; Alexandra Obolentseva (RUS) 7.5
 
U16 Open: Rudik Makarian (RUS) 8.5; Stefan Pogosyan (RUS) 8.0; Aronyak Ghosh (IND) 8,0
 
U16 Girls: Leya Garifullina (RUS) 8.5; Nurgali Nazerke (KAZ) 8.5; Anousha Mahdian (IRI) 8.0
 
U14 Open: Aydin Suleymanli (AZE) 9.0; Srihari L R (IND) 8.0; Sreeshwan Maralakshikari  (IND) 8.0
 
U14 Girls: Meruert Kamalidenova (KAZ) 8.5; Divya Deshmukh (IND) 8.0; Rakshitta Ravi (IND) 8.0
 
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Kerala: Tropical Titans back to winning ways at Kottappuram leg of CBL

Tropical Titans winning a nail-biting finish in Race Six of the Champions Boat League at Kottappuram, near Kodungallur, in Thrissur district of Kerala on October 12, 2019.
Tropical Titans winning a nail-biting finish in Race Six of the Champions Boat League at Kottappuram, near Kodungallur, in Thrissur district of Kerala on October 12, 2019.
The thrill quotient around the Champions Boat League (CBL) registered a massive surge halfway through the three-month event, as the sixth of the 12-round League saw Tropical Titans regaining their winning track with a timing of 3:44.51 amid a sustained trend of close results.
 
In the first and only CBL leg in this district, Backwater Knights apparently came a surprise second in the evening’s final, but were subsequently declared third after judges imposed an additional five seconds on the team for track violation. Thus, Raging Rowers were officially declared the runner-up, clocking 3:47.56 along the 900-metre track at the Kottappuram backwaters near Kodungallur.
 
The revised timing by Backwater Knights in the day’s final was officially put at 3:50.53.
 
Drenched in the afternoon drizzle, the crowd at Kottappuram was impressive, enabling the CBL spectators’ number to cross the 10-lakh mark going by their total so far since the start of the league on August 31.
 
Tropical Titans had been winners in the first four legs of the pioneering championship, but could finish only second last weekend at the CBL Kochi leg, where Coast Dominators had emerged victors.
 
At Kottappuram, Tropical Titans also won the ‘Nerolac Excel Fastest Team of the Day’, clocking 3:27.16 in the heats and earning five extra points. The team, thus, remain atop the overall table with 83 points in the IPL cricket-like pioneering championships being organised by Kerala Tourism.
 
At the end of CBL round-6, behind Tropical Titans stand Raging Rowers with 41 points. Mighty Oars stand third with 40 points. Coast Dominators, who had scored an upset win at Ernakulam Marine Drive in the previous leg, stand fourth now with 37 points.
 
Standing fifth down the overall table now is Pride Chasers with 30 points. Backwater Knights (26 points) stand sixth, while Backwater Warriors (18) and Thunder Oars (17) are on the seventh and eight spots, respectively. At the bottom stand Backwater Ninjas (13).
 
Today’s results further changed the dynamics within the CBL teams. Taken aback this evening was Coast Dominators, who had at Kochi put brakes on the winning streak of Tropical Titans. In a neck-and-neck final on October 5, Tropical Titans were the runner-up, while Raging Rowers had come third just an inch or two behind the evening’s victor and the runner-up.
 
This evening at Kottappuram, Coast Dominators were judged to have made an error in the heats and penalised with an addition of five seconds to their score. Protesting against this, they boycotted the loser’s final of the evening.
 
Today’s race was inaugurated by Kerala Agriculture Minister V S Sunilkumar, and attended by local MLA V R Sunilkumar, Muziris Heritage Project MD Nowshad P M, Kerala Tourism Director P Bala Kiran, KSFE Managing Director A Purushothaman and Municipal Chairman of Kodungallur K R Jaithran.  
 
The fifth leg at the placid Ernakulam backwaters had its spirit no different from what the CBL teams displayed at the previous edition, rowing upstream along the Moovattupuzha river in semi-hilly Piravom, also of Ernakulam district. The trend of high-suspense continued in Kochi as well, what with the first three teams decided within a range of mere 42 microseconds.
 
The three-month CBL being organised by the Kerala Tourism is slated to hold its finals on November 23 at Kollam. The inaugural race was at Alappuzha on August 31. Today’s event was held at the Muziris Kottappuram Waterfront, where the CBL helped the traditional boat race come back after a gap of four years.
 
The Kottappuram round also held competitions for the smaller iruttukuthi boats. It also hosted cultural activities including the classical Mohiniyattam dance and Biblical Chavittunatakam dance-drama.
 
The day’s topper secured Rs 5 lakh, followed by Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh for the second and third finishers. All participating teams are entitled to Rs 4 lakh per match.
 
The overall winner of the championships is entitled to Rs 25 lakh, followed by Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for the second and third prize winners. 
 
The CBL (www.championsboatleague.in), billed as a game-changing initiative, seeks to professionalise Kerala’s largely scattered snake-boat races, while commercialising them without losing the conventional spirit. Tickets can be booked online through ‘Book my Show’ platform, besides 20 outlets that facilitate spot purchase of tickets. The prices range from Rs 200 to 2,000.
 
The schedule goes thus from now: October 19 (Ponnani, Malappuram), October 26 (Kainakari, Alappuzha), November 2 (Pulinkunnu, Alappuzha district), November 9 (Kayamkulam, Alappuzha), November 16 (Kallada, Kollam district) and November 23 (Kollam, President’s Trophy Boat Race).
 
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Mary Kom seeks 7th gold in India’s best-ever overseas show at AIBA World Championships

Mary Kom (File photo: IANS)
Mary Kom (File photo: IANS)
Mary Kom (51kg) will lead the charge on Saturday as Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jamuna Boro (54kg) and Manju Rani (48kg) will all look to reach the finals in India’s best-ever overseas performance at the AIBA Women’s World Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia. 
 
“It is good to see we have equalled our last year’s medal count even though the aim still remains to conquer all four gold. Mary Kom remains an inspiration for all the other young girls and it is good to see they have all stepped up and are refusing to be intimidated by tougher opponents,” said Raffaele Bergamasco, the High-Performance Foreign Coach of Indian women’s boxing.
 
“The training ahead of the semi-finals has gone on well and we are all upbeat. Keeping our fingers crossed,” he added. While the Manipuri legend will target an unprecedented seventh gold and an eighth medal overall, Lovlina will hope to better the colour of the bronze she won last year in New Delhi.
 
Manju Rani and Jamuna Boro have dazzled in their maiden appearances at the World Championships and will hope to finish on a high.
 
The four-medal haul has put India at the third position out of the 51 countries that participated in this tournament with Russia leading with 6 medals, followed by China at 5.
 
Between Mary Kom and a place in the final stands Turkey's European champion Busenaz Cakiroglu, seeded second here. The London Olympic bronze medallist, who has six gold medals from this tournament, created history yesterday when she broke a tie with Cuban men's legend Felix Savon to become the only boxer across male and female categories to have amassed a staggering eight medals from the Worlds. The only time Kom had a medal of a lesser colour was in 2001 when she had to accept defeat in the final.
 
Mary, who also won her solitary Olympic medal in 51kg, would settle for nothing less than a gold, having had consistent performances throughout the year that include top-podium finishes at the India Open and the Indonesia President’s Cup.
 
While the medal count has remained the same as last year, the assured performances from the youngsters have raised hopes of having medals of better colour this time. Manju Rani, especially, has taken over the 48kg mantle from Mary Kom in an impressive fashion and India can actually dream of defending Kom’s 2018 gold after the huge upset in the quarter-finals by Rani.
 
The 4-1 win over top seed Kim Hyang of North Korea validated the Strandja Cup silver medallist’s composure and her hunger to perform on the big stage. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see her continuing her sizzling run when she takes on Thailand's Chuthamat Raksat, who upset fifth seed Yuliyanova Asenova.
 
Assam pugilist Jamuna Boro remained unfazed in her first appearance at this prestigious tournament. Having won the India Open and the Indonesia President's Cup gold medals, Boro showed her conviction in ample amounts in her 4-1 triumph over Ursula Gottlob of Germany.
 
Even though she does have a stern test against top seed and former Asian Games bronze medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei, Boro will look to draw inspiration from her own compatriot Manju Rani’s fabulous show against the top seed in her category.
 
With the 69kg top seed Chen Nien-Chin bowing out, Lovlina Borgohain’s chances of bettering her last year’s bronze has considerably increased. That said, she also needs to be wary of her next opponent, China’s Yang Liu, who herself knocked out the title favourite Nien-Chen.
 
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Chess: Praggnanandhaa wins penultimate round, poised to take Under-18 Open title

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India are well-placed to pocket a few medals in the World Youth Chess Championship here on Friday, with top star R Praggnanandhaa all but likely to lead the charge with a gold medal.
 
WIM Vantika Agrawal (Under-18 Girls), Candidate Master Aronyak Ghosh (Under-16 Open) and LR Srihari (Under-14 Open) were in good positions and can eye a silver medal each at the end of the penultimate round. The first two can, however, hope to convert it into a gold, if they win their last games and the other matches go their way.
 
Grand Master Praggnanandhaa asserted his supremacy in the Under-18 Open, trudging to a crucial victory against IM Paulius Pultinevicius of Lithuania to take his tally to 8.5 points.
 
The 63-move victory gave him a half-point advantage that could fetch him the gold with a draw in the 11th and final round on Saturday. He will, however, be wary of top seed GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia who thrashed IM Mitrabha Guha for his third straight victory to be in the second position with 8 points.
 
Vantika beat China’s Tianqi Yan to ease to 7.5 points, to be just half a point behind top seed Polina Shuvalova (Russia) who showed great skill to retain her lead (8 points) with another amazing victory.
 
Aronyak would probably rue the quick draw that he opted for, squandering the massive advantage that he had at the start of the day. Playing white against compatriot Kushagra Mohan, he was expected to go for a victory. But he chose to settle for a draw in just 20 minutes, saving himself for the last day.
 
It seemed like a good decision when top seed Hans Niemann (USA) suffered an unexpected defeat to fall behind. But Makarian Rudik (Russia) held on to his nerves to overcome G B Harshavardhan (India) to shoot into sole lead with 8 points. Aronyak had 7.5 points and would hope for a good pairing on Saturday for a dramatic finish.
 
Key Results:
Under 18 Open: R Praggnanandhaa (8.5) bt Paulius Pultinevicius (LTU, 6.5); Mitrabha Guha (6.5) lost to Shant Sargsyan (ARM, 8);Aryan Gholami (IRI, 7.5) bt Aditya Mittal (6.5); ViachaslauZarubitski (BLR, 6) lost to Arjun Kalyan (7)
 
Under 18 Girls: Lara Schulze (GER, 6.5) lost to Polina Shuvalova (RUS, 8);Vantika Agrawal ( 7.5) bt Tianqi Yan (CHN, 6.5); Alexandra Obolentseva (RUS, 7) drew with Zala Urh (SLO, 7) 
 
Under 16 Open: Hans Niemann (USA, 7) lost to Arash Daghli (IRI, 7.5);Rudik Makarian (RUS, 8) bt GB Harshavardhan (6.5); Aronyak Ghosh (7.5) drew Kushagra Mohan (7); Moksh Doshi ( 6.5) drew with Raja Rithvik R ( 6.5)  
 
Under 16 Girls: Xiao Zhang (CHN, 7) drew with Leya Garifullina (RUS, 8);Nazerke Nurgali (KAZ, 8.5) bt Laman Hajiyeva (AZE, 6.5);Salonika Saina (7) drew with Kamaliya Bulatova (RUS, 7);Anousha Mahdian (IRI, 7) drew with Viktoriya Loskutova (RUS, 6.5) 
 
Under 14 Open: Aydin Suleymanli (AZE, 8) drew with Phuc Vo Pham (VIE, 7.5);LR Srihari (7.5) drew with Marc Morgunov (AUT, 7.5)
 
Under 14 Girls: Eline Roebers (NED, 7.5) lost to Bat-Erdene Mungunzul (MGL, 8);Ekaterina Nasyrova (RUS, 7.5) bt Ayan Allahverdiyeva (AZE, 7);Rakshitta Ravi ( 7) drew with Divya Deshmukh ( 7)
 
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Badminton: Aditi Bhatt, Rohan Gurbani crash out of BWF World Junior Championships

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The Indian challenge in singles came to an end as both Aditi Bhatt and Rohan Gurbani went down fighting against their higher-ranked opponents at the BWF World Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia on Thursday.
 
While in girls’ singles, Aditi lost to 4th seeded Indonesian Putri Kusuma Wardani 11-21,15-21 in a 30-minute long match, Gurbani also went down fighting after he lost to Junior World No. 24 Ren Cheng Ming of China with a 15-21,13-21 scoreline. He exited after losing Round 5 in boys singles while Aditi's loss happened in Round 4 of her category.
 
With these defeats, India’s journey in the singles category came to an end on Day Four of the individual events.
 
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Chess: Aronyak beats top seed Niemann to share lead in Under-16 Open

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India’s Candidate Master Aronyak Ghosh scored a thrilling victory over top seed Hans Niemann of the USA to become joint leader in the Under-16 Open category of the World Youth Chess Championship here on Thursday.
 
Eighth seeded Aronyak played a strong strategic game in Round 9 to outwit his formidable opponent in 42 moves. He now has 7 points along with Hans and Russian IM Rudik Makarian, who was held to a draw by another Indian hopeful CM Kushagra Mohan (now joint second with 7 points).
 
The Under-18 Open too was intriguingly poised, with India’s biggest hope, GM R Praggnanandhaa eking out a well-fought victory over IM Viachaslau Zarubitski of Belarus to jump into the lead with 7.5 points.
 
Top seeded GM Shant Sargsyan of Armenia, however, was back in the title race with 7 points by scoring his second straight victory. The break on Tuesday seemed to have rejuvenated Shant as he punished the in form IM Aryan Gholami of Iran.
 
India suffered major setbacks in the Under-14 Open, though, with surprise package R Abinandhan and top seed S Maralakshikari losing crucial matches, with just two more rounds to go after this. Abinandhan, seeded 55th, who was enjoying a dream run, was beaten by Azerbaijan’s IM Aydin Suleymanli to slip to joint second.
 
Aydin was in sole lead while Abinandhan has Austria’s Morgunov Marc for company on the second rung. Morgunov overcame Maralakshikari.
 
The Under-14 Girls too went against the country, with second seeded WIM Rakshitta Ravi suffering a tough loss against Azerbaijan’s WFM Ayan Allahverdiyeva. In a Ruy-Lopez opening, Ayan gained the upper hand in the middlegame after Rakshitta’s aggression with her pawns backfired, to move into the second position.
 
Rakshitta’s defeat helped untitled Dutch player Eline Roebers, who downed Russian WFM Ekaterina Nasyrova to take the sole lead in the section.
 
Russia’s WCM Leya Garifullina (7.5) clung on to her top position in the Under-16 Girls, scoring a 47-move draw against India’s WFM Salonika Saina. Kazakhastan’s Nazerke Nurgali joined her by the end of day, after drawing with India’s BM Akshaya.
 
KEY RESULTS
Under-18 Open: Viachaslau Zarubitski (BLR, 6) lost to R Praggnanandhaa (IND, 7.5); Sargsyan Shant (ARM, 7) bt Aryan Gholami (IRI, 6.5); Mitrabha Guha (IND, 6.5) drew with Felix Blohberger (AUT, 6);
 
Under 18 Girls: Polina Shuvalova (RUS, 7) drew Alexandra Obolentseva (RUS, 6.5); Lara Schulze (GER, 6.5) drew Vantika Agrawal (IND, 6.5); Turmunkh Munkhzul (MGL, 6) drew Tianqi Yan (CHN, 6.5);
 
Under 16 Open: Aronyak Ghosh (IND, 7) beat Hans Moke Niemann (USA, 7); Mohan Kushagra (IND, 6.5) drew Rudik Makarian (RUS, 7); Arash Daghli (IRI, 5.5) Nikolozi Kacharava (GEO, 5.5); Raja Rithvik (IND, 5.5) Miguel Soto (COL,); GB Harshavardhan (IND, 6.5) bt Sankalp Gupta (IND, 5.5);
 
Under 16 Girls: Leya Garifullina (RUS, 7.5) drew Salonika Saina (IND, 6.5); BM Akshaya (IND, 6) drew Nazerke Nurgali (KAZ, 7.5); Kamaliya Bulatova (RUS, 6.5) beat Anousha Mahdian (IRI, 6.5)
 
Under 14 Open: R Abinandhan (IND, 7) lost to Aydin Suleymanli (AZE, 7.5); S Maralakshikari (IND, 6) lost to Marc Morgunov (AUT, 7); Phuc Vo Pham (VIE, 7) bt Jakub Chyzy (POL, 6); Jeet Shah (IND, 6) lost to LR Srihari (IND, 7);
 
Under 14 Girls: Eline Roebers (NED, 7.5) bt Ekaterina Nasyrova (RUS, 6.5); Ayan Allahverdiyeva (AZE, 7) bt Rakshitta Ravi (IND, 6.5); Erdene Mungunzul (MGL, 7) bt Astghik Hakobyan (ARM, 6)
 
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Mary Kom creates history, Manju Rani upsets top seed as Indians confirm 4 medals

Mary Kom (File photo: IANS)
Mary Kom (File photo: IANS)
Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) and debutant Manju Rani led four Indian boxers into the semi-finals as India was assured of four medals at the AIBA Women’s World Championships on Thursday.
 
After Mary Kom confirmed her eighth medal from the World Championships, that made her surpass her own record,  Manju Rani stole the show by upstaging the top seed in 48kg. 
 
Strandja Cup silver medallist Manju Rani (48kg) showed calm nerves and tactical acumen in getting past the top seed Kim Hyang of North Korea with a 4-1 win. With both relentlessly going for their punches, Rani’s anticipation skills helped her evade her opponent’s blows which ultimately gifted her the victory.
 
“Today’s bout went according to our plan. The strategy that the coaches had fixed, worked well, so I was able to produce this result. We will again have to strategise for my next bout and hopefully repeat the result,” said Manju Rani after the big win.
 
Rani will next face Thailand's Chuthamat Raksat, who upset fifth seed Yuliyanova Asenova.
 
A gold last year in 48kg at home had put the legendary Mary Kom on a tie with Cuban men's legend Felix Savon. With a convincing 5-0 win over Colombia’s Valencia Victoria, Mary Kom became the only boxer across male or female categories to have as many as eight medals from the World Championships.
 
This is also the Manipuri ace’s first medal from this prestigious tournament in 51kg, the same category in which she got a bronze at the London Olympics.
 
"After winning the quarter-final, I am happy and will try to win the highest medal for the country. I would try my best and hopefully win the gold medal here. I would give my best to enter the finals of the tournament,” she said.
 
Awaiting her in the semi-finals on Saturday is reigning European Championships and European Games gold medallist Busenaz Cakiroglu of Turkey.
 
Later in the day, Assam girls Jamuna Boro (54kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) also won their respective quarter-finals to be assured of medals.
 
India Open winner Jamuna Boro too put in an assured performance against Germany's Ursula Gottlob to register a 4-1 triumph in the 54kg quarter-finals. Boro, who also won a gold at the Indonesia President's Cup, will be put to a stern test in the semis as she faces the top seed and former Asian Games bronze medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei.
 
“She took me by surprise with her aggression at first but I knew I could control more with each passing round,” said Boro on her opponent.
 
“My next bout is against a Chinese Taipei boxer who is taller than me but I have practised with taller opponents and I am hoping to continue my good performance,” she added.
 
Later in the day, 2018 World Championships bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain confirmed a medal for a second consecutive year when she outpunched sixth seed Karolina Koszewska of Poland 4-1. She took time to settle into her bout but played smartly and waited for her moments to land some effective punches as her opponent started looking tired.
 
Borgohain would be up against China’s Yang Liu, who shocked top seed Chen Nien-Chin.
 
The only setback of the day for India was the loss of two-time bronze-medallist Kavita Chahal in +81kg. Chahal failed to put up any resistance in her opening bout of the tournament and bowed out after a 0-5 loss to Katsiaryna Kavaleva of Belarus.
 
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IOA, JSW unveil plans for Indian Olympic Hospitality House at Tokyo 2020

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The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the JSW Group on Thursday announced a first-of-its-kind partnership that will see the group set up an Indian Olympic Hospitality House in Tokyo during the Summer Olympics next year.
 
As a first step, the official India House logo was unveiled by Union Sports  Minister Kiren Rijiju, in the presence of IOA President Narinder Batra, Secretary General  Rajeev Mehta, JSW Sports Director Parth Jindal and JSW Sports CEO Mustafa Ghouse at an event here.
 
Scheduled to be operational from July 2020, the India Olympic Hospitality House will be set up over an area of 2,200 sq.m near the Games Village and multiple Games venues in the Ariake region of Tokyo. It will offer a range of activities and experiences for traveling fans and supporters who will be in Tokyo for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza. 
 
A staple among developed sporting nations, this will be the first-ever such venue for India at the Olympic Games.
 
The official India House logo, unveiled by the Minister  is inspired by Indian national elements like the lotus, peacock and the heritage arch. It will provide a window for the world to look at India and its heritage during the Games and combines the historical side of India with a modern outlook.
 
“The India House at the 2020 Olympics is an amazing concept. We need a team to produce a sports champion. We have to create the right ambience for our athletes at the Olympics. The India House will represent the idea of India at the Tokyo Games,” the Minister said. 
 
Through this initiative, the organisers hope to cement India’s presence as a significant member of the Olympic Movement. Running through the duration of the Games, the venue will host watch parties, medal celebrations and meet-and-greet opportunities with Indian athletes. 
 
Traditional Indian sports will be displayed, and visitors will also get a taste of a variety of Indian cuisine which will be on offer. A dedicated Athlete Lounge for the Indian Olympians to feel at home and have access to medical facilities and food will be available on site. A Media Centre to host traveling Indian media personnel has also been planned in the area.
 
“The India House is a great initiative and we are pleased that JSW has come on board to showcase our culture and heritage at the Olympics through this Hospitality House. Through this, we hope that the Indian athletes and fans can feel at home in a foreign land during the Tokyo Olympics,” said the IOA chief.
 
“I attended my first Olympics in Rio in 2016 and realised that the Olympics is a celebration of not just sport, but a global collaboration. I visited the Hospitality Houses of many countries but realised that there wasn’t one for India. I felt that India has a great opportunity to showcase their culture through an India House at the Olympics and that’s where the journey started,” said Parth Jindal.
 
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Praggnanandhaa wins, joins Aryan in lead in WYCC

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India’s hopes in the Under-18 Open brightened as R Praggnanandhaa outclassed compatriot P Iniyan in the highly anticipated battle between two Indian Grand Masters in the World Youth Chess Championship here on Wednesday.
 
Playing black, Iniyan opted for the Pirc Defence which was easily countered by Pragg, forcing him into inaccuracies in the opening itself. Pragg kept increasing his advantage with every move and duly emerged victorious on move 38.
 
With this crucial win, Pragg joined Iran’s IM Aryan Gholami in the lead after the latter was made to settle for a draw by Indian IM Mitrabha Guha in 38 moves. Top seed GM Sargsyan Shant of Armenia kept himself in the hunt by crushing George Stoleriu of Romania in 37 moves.
 
Meanwhile, untitled R Abinandhan’s dream run continued in the Under-14 Open, storming into the lead with 7 points. The 55th seed outwitted compatriot FM LR Srihari in a Queen’s Gambit game to coast to a 40-move win.
 
Aydin Suleymanli (Armenia) had moved to the second place with 6.5 points, after settling for a draw against Marc Morgunov of Austria.
 
Top seed S Maralakshikari was in the next lot after one more draw.
 
In the Under-14 Girls, WIM Rakshitta Ravi (6.5 points) held on to her lead by forcing a draw on Russia’s Ekaterina Nasyrova. 
 
In the Under-16 Open, USA’s IM Moke Hans Niemann held on to his lead, overcoming Miguel Soto (Colombia). 
 
CM Mohan Kushagra moved up the ladder, beating compatriot Moksh Doshi to be in the third lot with 6 points.
 
Sixth seed WIM Vantika Agrawal split the point with Polina Shuvalova (Russia) to hold on to the second position in the leaderboard.
 
Key Results 
 
Under 18 Open: Aryan Gholami (IRI, 6.5) drew with Mitrabha Guha (6);R Praggnanandhaa (6.5) beat P Iniyan (5);George Stoleriu (ROU, 5) lost to Sargsyan Shant (ARM, 6);
 
Under 18 Girls: Vantika Agrawal (6) drew with Polina Shuvalova (RUS, 6.5); Tianqi Yan (CHN, 6) beat Alicja Sliwicka  (POL, 5); Assel Serikbay (KAZ, 5) lost to Alexandra Obolentseva (RUS, 6) 
 
Under 16 Open: Miguel Soto (COL, 5.5) lost to Moke Hans Niemann (USA, 7);Moksh Doshi (5) lost to Mohan Kushagra (6) 
 
Under 16 Girls: Nazerke Nurgali (KAZ, 7) beat Alessia Ciolacu (ROU, 5.5);
 
Under 14 Open: LR Srihari (6) lost to R Abinandhan (7); Marc Morgunov  (AUT, 6) drew with Aydin Suleymanli (AZE, 6.5); S Maralakshikari (6) drew with Thien Phuc Vo (VIE, 6)
 
Under 14 Girls: Rakshitta Ravi (6.5) drew with Ekaterina Nasyrova  (RUS, 6.5);Astghik Hakobyan (ARM, 6) drew with Eline Roebers (NED, 6.5); Erdene Mungunzul  (MGL, 6) beat Dhyana Patel  (5)
 
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Marathon: Country's top athletes to headline 15th ADHM

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Two-time winner Suresh Kumar Patel will lead the Indian men’s line-up in the 15th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon to be held in the capital on Sunday, October 20.
 
Patel has also tasted victory in four editions at the TCS World 10K (2018, 2015, 2013 and 2011) in Bengaluru. In his most recent appearance for 25kms distance run, Patel timed a personal best of 1.04.38.  
 
He will be challenged by young gun Murali Kumar Gavit, a bronze medalist in the Asian Athletic Championship in Doha. 
 
Gavit is also a product of the Elite Distance Running Program (EDRP) that was initiated by Procam International along with SAI and Global Sports Communications. Anish Thapa Magar, who recently won a half marathon held in Kathmandu, will also be a strong contender in the Indian Elite challenge along with Shankarman Thapa. 
 
In the Women's section, 2017 course record holder L Suriya and 3000m steeplechase national record holder Sudha Singh will lead the Indian Elite  category. Suriya clocked 70.31 in 2017 to create a new course record while Sudha, who won the 2012 edition, will be seen in a tough contest. The other big name in the women's fray is Parul Chaudhary who finished runner-up at the 2018 edition. 
 
This IAAF Gold Label race with prize money of USD 275,000 boasts of a star-studded mix of track & field and road runners from India and across the world. 
 
Meanwhile as the capital city readies itself to host the event, Procam International revealed that registrations for all categories have soared to an all-time high of 40,633 participants.  
 
In its milestone year, the Great Delhi Run has registered an unprecedented 16,962 runners. The half marathon witnessed a spike of 11 per cent with 13,115 participants and the 10K run registrations have jumped up by 77 per cent to 8,553. The senior citizen run too has received a heart-warming 1430 registrations, while the champions with disability will have 573 inspiring individuals defying all odds to complete the distance. 
 
“We are thrilled to see the record number of registrations for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. It underlines the deep engagement this platform has established with participants and the public at large around the spirit of this marathon. Airtel is very proud to be a part of this amazing event and wishes all participants the very best for the run,” said Vani Venkatesh, CEO – Delhi/NCR, Bharti Airtel at a media conference.
 
"It is overwhelming to witness registrations grow year-on-year and especially with this being a milestone year. It is unprecedented to have more than 40,000 runners on the start line at ADHM. In addition to the array of international athletes, we have a very respectable line-up of Indian elite athletes, who will show their mettle. To have one of the world’s most celebrated athletes Carmelita Jeter as the Event Ambassador will surely be a motivating factor for the multitude of runners," stated Vivek Singh, Joint Managing Director, Procam International.    
 
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